Born into a basket of clean sheets—ruining a perfectly good load of laundry—Emmeline never quite fit in on her family's rural Nova Scotian farm. After suffering multiple losses in the First World War, her family became so heavy with grief, toxicity, and mental illness that Emmeline felt their weight smothering her. And so, she fled across the Atlantic and built her life in England. Now she is retired and living in a small coastal town with her best friend, Vera, an excellent conversationalist. Vera is also a small white dog, and so Emmeline is making an effort to talk to more humans. When she joins a memoir-writing course at the library, her classmates don't know what to make of her. Funny, loud, and with a riveting memoir, she charms the lot. As her past unfolds for her audience, friendships form, a bonus in a rather lonely life. She even shares with them her third-biggest secret: she has liberated hundreds of spoons over her lifetime—from the local library, Cary Grant, Winston Churchill. She is a compulsive spoon stealer.
When Emmeline unexpectedly inherits the farm she grew up on, she knows she needs to leave her new friends and go see the farm and what remains of her family one last time. She arrives like a tornado in their lives, an off-kilter Mary Poppins bossing everyone around and getting quite a lot wrong. But with her generosity and hard-earned wisdom, she gets an awful lot right too. A pinball ricocheting between people, offending and inspiring in equal measure, Emmeline, in her final years, believes that a spoonful—perhaps several spoonfuls—of kindness can set to rights the family so broken by loss and secrecy.
The Spoon Stealer is a classic Crewe book: full of humour, family secrets, women's friendship, lovable animals, and immense heart.
Lesley Crewe is the author of ten novels, including Beholden, Mary, Mary, Amazing Grace, Chloe Sparrow, Kin, and Relative Happiness, which has been adapted into a feature film. Previously a freelance writer and screenwriter, her column "Are You Kidding Me?" appears weekly in the Chronicle Herald's community newspapers. Lesley lives in Homeville, Nova Scotia. Visit her at lesleycrewe.com.
"Mental illness and loss are the themes running through the book, but the author deals with these subjects with the grace, humor and love I have come to know through reading her books." —Atlantic Book Reviews